Following the election results party on Thursday 7th March, Women’s Officer Sam Hickman suggested that Adam Duce’s election was a result of the votes of non-LGBT students. “The majority who voted for it would’ve been non LGBT+ people.”
There were concerns raised as to how qualified the officer elect is for the position. The opponent, Sarah Lynn claims that her involvement in student politics and the LGBT+ association made her the most qualified candidate, and is believed to have been the popular choice amongst current association and society members.
Despite the election of Cari Davies as the first female president in 10 years, Hickman also suggested that Duce’s victory might have been the result of sexist voting patterns. “This was simply a matter of gender. The typical cis hetero’s (cisgender meaning that gender matches biological sex) all saw man vs. woman and clicked man.”
This was a sentiment echoed by Lynn. “Generally they (straight cisgender) would be the ones to vote for the male over the female candidate despite him being less qualified… from what I saw, those were the people he campaigned to”
Both Lynn and Hickman agree that it could be beneficial for those roles to be decided by caucuses rather than open elections, where self-defining students had a greater say in electing officers that have a direct effect on them.
This would mean students voting for part time positions such International Students & Welsh Students Officer would be decided by the students whom the position directly effects.“
In all NUS elections, minority representatives are voted on in caucuses, so does it not make sense for us to do the same?” suggested Lynn.
Hickman added that, “In some ways it would be better to have self-defining caucuses elections for the liberation groups, however with our student body being so big, this could be more of a hassle than an advantage.”
Adam Duce responded to comments by saying, “One of my principal aims is to break down the ‘them’ and ‘us’ approach, which is one of the reasons I have not been involved before”
Duce felt that the comments made regarding his campaign were unfortunate and displayed narrow-mindedness. “I have lots of friends who aren’t part of the LGBT+ community and just because they are not part of the LGBT+ Society doesn’t mean they don’t exist”
In relation to the suggestion of caucuses being introduced, he added, “I believe that we should be a more integrated and united student population. The association having a greater say in electing the LGBT+ Officer would eliminate the democracy of the elections.”
“I want to change the way that certain non-LGBT+ students view the LGBT+ community and I believe I’ve already made a start with the votes that were cast by them.”
Current elected officer and gair rhydd Editor Chris Williams agreed, “As a Union, it’s important that all voices are heard and groups are able to interact with one another. We use strong, solid democratic processes to try and create the fairest elections we possibly can, I believe that in the last union election, this has been achieved.”